Keep the Faith, Change the Church.

Reflections


Reflections for the Season
Voice of the Faithful 2016 Advent Calendar

Click here or the image below to go to a calendar of links for each day of Advent 2016. When you click a photo in the calendar, you will go to a page of reflections, liturgical readings links, and photos of VOTF members' crèche scenes for that day during Advent.


Reflections on Liturgical Readings

Reading: Malachi 3:19-20a

19For the day is coming, blazing like an oven,
when all the arrogant and all evil doers will be stubble,
And the day that is coming will set them on fire,
leaving them neither root nor branch,
says the Lord of hosts.

20aBut for you who fear my name, the sun of justice
will arise with healing in its wings ...

REFLECTION

Let us look for the healing rays we receive and those we can give to others with God's help.

Gaile M. Pohlhaus, Ph.D.
Practical theologian and former VOTF officer


Reading: Second Thessalonians 2:16-3:5

Brother and Sisters:

16May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father,
who has loved us and given us everlasting encouragement
and good hope throught his grace,

17encourage your hearts and strengthen them in every good
deed and word.

3:1Finally, brothers and sisters, pray for us
so that the word of the Lord may spped forward
and be glorified, as it did among you,

2and that we may be delivered from perverse
and wicked people, for not all have faith.

3But the Lord is Faithful; he will strengthen you
and guard you from the evil one.

4We are confident of you in the Lord that what
we instruct you, you are doing and will continue to do.

5May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God
and to the endurance of Christ.

REFLECTION

Let us grow more and more grateful for the grace we have received from God. And please continue to pray for me so that I can continue to write these reflections.

Gile M. Pohlhaus, Ph.D.
Practical theologian and former VOTF officer


Reading: Second Thessalonians 1:11-12

11... we always pray for you, that our God may make
you worthy of his calling and powerfully bring to fulfillment
every good purpose and every effort of faith,

12that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified
in you, and you in him, in accord with the grace
of our God and Lord Jesus Christ.

REFLECTION

While it is true that I always pray for you, I hope that it is equally true that all who read this reflection also pray for all of us as we all are working with God's grace to bring fulfillment to every good purpose.

Gaile M. Pohlhaus, Ph.D.
Practical theologian and former VOTF officer


Reading: Sirach 35:12-14, 16-18

The LORD is a God of justice,
who knows no favorites.
Though not unduly partial toward the weak,
yet he hears the cry of the oppressed.
The Lord is not deaf to the wail of the orphan,
nor to the widow when she pours out her complaint.
The one who serves God willingly is heard;
his petition reaches the heavens.
The prayer of the lowly pierces the clouds;
it does not rest till it reaches its goal,
nor will it withdraw till the Most High responds,
judges justly and affirms the right,
and the Lord will not delay.

REFLECTION

The prophet reminds us that God hears our crying out but that God's response is a just judgement which affirms the right without delay.

Gaile Pohlhaus, Ph.D.
Practical theologian and former VOTF officer


Reading: Second Timothy 2:11:13

11This saying is trustworthy:
If we have died with him
we shall also live with him;

12if we persevere
we shall also reign with him.
But if we deny him
he will deny us.

13If we are unfaithful
he remains faithful
for he cannot deny himself.

REFLECTION

The epistles to Timothy are known as the pastoral epistles; they are not to a church, but rather are understood as teaching Timothy how to be a good pastor. This particular teaching reminds Timothy and us that we are to be faithful as Christ is faithful.

I have not been faithful in keeping up with these reflections. I beg your prayers so that I may become faithful again.

Gaile M. Pohlhaus, Ph.D.
Practical Theologian and former VOTF officer


Reading: Colossians 2:12-14

Brothers and Sisters:
Your were buried with him in baptism,
in which you were also raised with him
through faith in the power of God,
who raised him from the dead.
And even when you were dead
in transgressions and the uncircumcision
of your flesh, he brought you to life along
with him, having gorgiven us all our
transgressions; obliterating the bond
against us, with its legal claims, which
was opposed to us, he also removed it
from our midst, nailing it to the cross.

REFLECTION

The readings today are about forgiveness -- God's forgivenexx of us, and our forgiveness of others. It is hard to forgive sometimes, but when we reflect on all God has forgiven us, our own shame impels us to forgive others.

Blessings

Gaile M. Pohlhaus, PhD.
Practical Theologian and former VOTF officer


Reading: Colossians 1:24-26

Brothers and Sisters:
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake,
and in my flesh I am filling up
what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ
on behalf of his body, which is the church,
of which I am a minister
in accordance with God's stewardship given to me
to bring to completion for you the word of God,
the mystery hidden from ages and from generations past.

REFLECTION

There have been many sufferings this past week, especially for all of those involved in the Trayvon Martin case. Through our Baptism, we are all ministers who should work to bring completion through the mystery of God.

Blessings,

Gaile M. Pohlhaus, PhD.
Practical Theologian and former VOTF officer


Reading: Col 1:19-20

For in [Christ Jesus] all the fullness was pleased to dwell,
and through him to reconcile all things for him,
making peace by the blood of his cross
through him, whether those on earth or those in heaven.

REFLECTION

"All the fullness" must refer to the triune God for what other fullness is there?

Blessings,

Gaile M. Pohlhaus, Ph.D.
Practical Theologian and former VOTF officer


Reading: Gal 6:14-18

Brothers and sisters:
May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,
through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
For neither does circumcision mean anything, nor does uncircumcision,
but only a new creation.

Peace and mercy be to all who follow this rule
and to the Israel of God.

From now on, let no one make troubles for me;
for I bear the marks of Jesus on my body.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit,
brothers and sisters. Amen.

REFLECTION

Only a new creation means anything and as we move towards it we will receive peace and mercy.

Blessings,

Gaile M. Pohlhaus, PhD.
Practical Theologian and former VOTF officer


Reading: Gal 5:1, 13-18

Brothers and sisters:

For freedom Christ set us free;
so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.

For you were called for freedom, brothers and sisters.
But do not use this freedom
as an opportunity for the flesh;
rather, serve one another through love.
For the whole law is fulfilled in one statement,
namely, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
But if you go on biting and devouring one another,
beware that you are not consumed by one another.

I say, then: live by the Spirit
and you will certainly not gratify the desire of the flesh.
For the flesh has desires against the Spirit,
and the Spirit against the flesh;
these are opposed to each other,
so that you may not do what you want.
But if you are guided by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

REFLECTION

This is a tricky teaching to get one's mind around. It is the law which entangles us. When we truly love our neighbor as ourselves we are free. We will choose to do that which helps our neighbors for love of them not to strike back at them.

Blessings,

Gaile M. Pohlhaus, PhD.
Practical Theologian and former VOTF officer


Reading: Gal 3:26-29

Brothers and sisters:
Through faith you are all children of God in Christ Jesus.
For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed
yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek,
there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male
or female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you
belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's descendant,
heirs according to the promise.

REFLECTION

I was torn between the reading from Galatians and the Responsorial Psalm today. It was the emphasis on Baptism that finally decided me; the emphasis that we all are one combined with Pope Francis' statement that salvation is for the good.

Blessings,

Gaile M. Pohlhaus, PhD
Practical Theologian and former VOTF officer